there are 4 kinds of lizards, this one the largest, maybe 8 or 9" long. Another with copper eyelids. A skink. Each day, more and more butterflies, caterpillars, one looking like a Chinese festival dragon. Moths. Bees, 3 kind, wasps, earthworms, horsehair worms, child of the earth, spiders, squirrels, wild turkeys. All manner of birds, songbirds, finches, woodpeckers. a Crow passes above. tree frogs. More things, still unseen but leaving evidence of their presence. And, a snake. Alyssia and i were choosing the spot for the second Hummingbird vine. and then, looking just to the right, coiled neatly at the base of the fence post, snake. We were silent and looked. Snake was still, looking back. We wanted to be seeing a Gopher snake. We leaned in, close, holding the camera as close as we could but the shape of the head was obscured by blades of grass and the coiled position. Got a stick, but too short. With the tip of the shovel, gently touched. No response. Alyssia then nudged it. No response. But we had the pictures that clearly showed the design of the face...those white stripes at the eye. Not much conversation and we moved a ways down the line and planted the second vine. Time for the kids to come home from school and all of the evening activity of Goats and Chickens, dinner. Early evening i noticed that Tay was limping slightly. Left front foot, i felt it for maybe a thorn, Alyssia felt it also...nothing. That was Thursday. Friday it was swollen, foot, ankle...some but not a lot. Not painful to touch. Maybe a sprain. Wait and see. Saturday morning was swollen like a club....a substance oozing from a spot she had licked. She would not bear weight on it. The only Oroville vet open with Saturday hours was booked and advised to go to the Emergency Clinic in Chico. Tay and I set out.
Vet walked in the exam room and stood looking. Asked if there were rattlesnakes around. She did the usual vitals check, heart and lungs good, a fever. Palpated the pads, all the bones. normal. Shaved the area that Tay had licked and there, the two puncture marks. Because too much time had passed, the antivenom would not work. She is on 10 days of a HEAVY Cephalex dose, Gabapentin for nerve inflammation and pain and an anticonvulsant. Rovera a general antiinflammatory. I am to watch for any side effects, which can be severe. I am to watch for any discoloration in the shaved skin and between the pads. It's hard to predict how it will go. She's healthy and strong.
So. We are all ummm, subdued. Thinking our own thoughts.
as i was leaving the exam room, the vet, a young woman, offered that her parents live in Red Bluff and as always, there are many rattlesnakes on their farm. Said there are grandchildren and dogs, cats, livestock. I said...what do they DO? She said, remain vigilant. always vigilant. Teach the children.